IWA Publishing

Assessment of emerging hydrological, water quality issues and policy discussion on water sharing of transboundary Kabul River

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Transboundary water sharing policy between Pakistan and Afghanistan along with emerging issues over the Transboundary Kabul River have been discussed incorporating long-term hydrological trend analysis, water quality issues and temporal changes in land cover/land use. The annual (1977–2015) mean river flow of 26.32 billion (109) cubic metres (BCM) with a range of 13.77 to 42.2 BCM and standard deviation of 6.026 BCM revealed no significant trend in annual inflow data of the Kabul River. Afghanistan planned developments in the basin were analysed in the light of reduction in the transboundary flow. Faecal coliforms, pH (7.90 to 8.06), Escherichia coli and other water quality parameters were found to be within permissible limits, however, dissolved oxygen was just above the permissible limits to sustain aquatic life. Water was found unsuitable for drinking while suitable for agriculture and aquatic life. Remote sensing data used for temporal change detection showed an increase in built-up-areas and cultivated areas along Kabul River inside Pakistan by 50 and 47%, respectively. Significant changes were observed at two locations in the river course. Insights of emerging Kabul River issues and a way forward have been discussed which could serve as the basis for formulation of adaption strategies leading to a ‘Kabul River Water Treaty’.

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